edding season is upon us. For guests, finding the frock most fitting for the occasion can be a puzzle. Fortunately, a profusion of dresses in tangerine, turquoise and hot-pink prints paraded down fashion runways for summer 2012, offering a welcome alternative to the still-practical-but-oh-so-predictable black cocktail dress. Here, we’ve imagined four typical summer wedding scenarios — swanky black tie, destination beach bash, conservative country club and low-key backyard ceremony — and what to wear to each.

The beach

Aqua, green and gold patterns swirl over Banana Republic’s shiny cotton strapless dress, which is from its new collaboration with designer Trina Turk. Decorate your decolletage with a coordinating Trina Turk citron bubble necklace. If the ceremony is set for the sand, choose a pair of metallic flat sandals. Daytime events call for a wide-brim hat, while a lightweight shrug protects bare shoulders from the evening chill.

Blue Pisces Printed Cora dress, $150. Necklace, $69.50. Both available June 7 at stores and www.bananarepublic.com. Cole Haan Air Tali sandals, $127.50 at www.amazon.com. Christys’ Surfside sun hat, $46 at
Proper Topper, 1350 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202-842-3055, www.propertopper.com. Bolero, $180 at bhldn.com.

The back yard

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg may have worn a suit (and loose tie) and bride Priscilla Chan a traditional wedding gown for their own backyard fete, but we’d bet their guests donned attire expected of cool California techies. Channel your own inner hipster with a coral top dress, exposed back zipper and ribbon hem skirt. Add hammered earrings for a glittery accent. For the ceremony, you may be sinking heels into grass, so forgo the stilettos for flats or a wedge sandal, such as these leg-lengthening espadrilles.

Sachin + Bibi dress, $425 at Julia Farr, 5232 44th St. NW, 202-364-3277. JCrew Sardinia wedge espadrille, $118 at www.jcrew.com. Hammered brass earrings, $98 at www.anthropologie.com

The formal affair

When the invitation says “black tie optional,” your hosts won’t balk if you don’t wear an evening dress, but lean toward the more formal option. Keep accessories minimal with this dramatic Halston Heritage navy gown with flowing black cape. Judith Jack’s marcasite and blue topaz earrings add lightness around your face; sparkling sleek sandals with rows of crystals and an ankle strap accent a shapely leg meant to be seen through a revealing high slit. If a chill sets in from the air conditioning, keep a metallic wrap at the ready.

Dress, $125 rental fee at www.renttherunway.com. Earrings, $150 at www.amazon.com. Glint Milly sandal, $65.90 at www.nordstrom.com. Satin gray wrap, $195 at www.simplysoles.com.

The country club

If you cringe at the color tangerine or feel faint at the thought of wearing a bold print, think monochromatically. For a daytime or evening event at a country club, the Julia Farr-designed pale coral pink sheath with a subtle check and slight gleam in the fabric flatters a variety of figures and ages. Pair it with nude sandals and a Kara Ross cuff and earrings in matching coral.

Dress, $320; coral python cuff, $290; and earrings, $140 at Julia Farr, 5232 44th St. NW, 202-364-3277. Zara sandal with methacrylate heel, $129 at www.zara.com.

For a country club wedding, wear Halston Heritage’s blue-and-purple silk crepe de chine dress with high-heel black or nude sandals and Wendy Mink filigree drop hoop earrings with pale blue crystals.

Dress, $425 at Julia Farr, 5232 44th St. NW, 202-364-3277. Earrings, $348 at www.amazon.com.


Already covered in poppies, daisies and cornflowers, Anthropologie’s Primary Blooms dress doesn’t need much embellishment. Pair with hammered brass earrings and tangerine espadrilles.

Dress, $168; and earrings, $98 at area Anthropologie stores and www.anthropologie.com. Espadrilles, $89.95 at www.amazon.com.


An interior corset and boning at the sides for extra support makes this splashy silk strapless dress wearer-friendly. Slip Cole Haan’s metallic flat sandals on your feet. For a cover-up on the beach, grab your favorite denim jacket.

Dress, Dress, $139.99 at select J. Crew stores and www.jcrew.com


Wear this Versace Caspian Sea figure-defining sheath dress to a dressier backyard bash (the kind that usually comes with tent and dance floor). During the day, protect your face under Proper Topper’s broad-brim surfside sun hat. Cover bare shoulders in the evening with BHLDN’s lightweight bolero.

Dress, $150 at www.renttherunway.com. Hat, $46 at www.propertopper.com. Bolero, $180 at www.bhldn.com.


Doo.ri’s blue-and-white printed dress can be worn for beach, backyard or country club events, depending on accessories. For fancier occasions, step up the footwear with a glittery sandal and add a pop of color with a tangerine silk and cashmere wrap.

Dress, $100 at www.renttherunway.com. Wrap, $75 at www.jcrew.com.